Wireworld Second Generation Flat Ethernet Cables Wireworld Cable Technology
has announced the release of their second generation Ethernet patch cables that includes their Chroma 8 Ethernet ($15/meter + termination), Starlight 8 Ethernet ($60/meter + termination) and Platinum Starlight 8 Ethernet ($600/meter + termination). Their patented flat design was developed through listening tests that compared network cables to a local USB stick. These new 'Series 8' cables utilize higher density triple-layer shields and quieter Composilex 3 insulation to maximize audible and visible performance.
The official network cable categories (ie. Cat5/6/7/8) only include twisted pair cables, so these non-twisted twinax cables cannot be rated by those test specifications. However, according to Wireworld, "it is interesting to note that the 100Gb/s (QSFP+) Ethernet cables used in internet server installations are also twinax designs". The patented Tite-Shield design utilized in these cables places the conductors in parallel, with each of the four pairs isolated from the others by dense triple-layer shields. This radical flat design is so effective at isolating noise that replacing only the final cable in the network can substantially improve sound quality.
Two critical areas of performance include the density of triple-layer shields, which reduces both cross-talk and external interference. However, says the company, the controlled listening tests also revealed that internally generated 'Triboelectric noise' was still masking too much quiet musical information. Upgrading from Wireworld’s proprietary Composilex 2 composite insulation, used in the original versions, to the newly developed and much quieter Composilex 3, and is said to enabled even finer musical details to be preserved.
The three cables differ only in their conductor materials. The Chroma 8 is yellow with Oxygen-free copper conductors. Starlight 8 is red with silver-clad OFC conductors and Platinum Starlight 8 is silver with conductors made of the most conductive metal available, Ohno Continuous Cast solid silver of 7N (99.99999%) purity. With next generation performance and versatility, Wireworld Series 8 Ethernet cables provide audio/video consumers and professionals with objectively superior network fidelity.
05 / 22 / 19
Enjoy the Music.com Launches Monthly Audio Gear Contests Enjoy the Music.com, a longstanding
source for luxurious high-end home and portable audio equipment reviews, news
and show reports since 1995, is launching monthly gear contests to bring great
music to our enthusiastic worldwide readership. Years ago, the site delivered
multiple contests that, in total, offered over $250,000 in prizes. During 2012,
our High-Stakes High-End Giveaway presented prizes that, in total, were valued at
nearly $90,000! This eclipses any other high-end audio giveaway at the time, and
to this day still commands the industry's largest contest. --->
Win Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Speakers
Valued At $599! Enjoy the
Music.com is honored to join with Vanatoo for our
June 2019 contest. The Transparent One Encore (T1E, $599) series of wireless powered speakers from Vanatoo is your solution for high quality music, movie, and game playback without all of the clutter. Simply plug one speaker into the wall, run the supplied wire between the two speakers, and connect your source, which can be just about anything. --->
Read more and enter for your chance to win!
McIntosh Laboratory @ HIGH END 2019 HIGH END 2019 Show Report
By Steven R. Rochlin As many of you know from reading my previous review of the
MC611 amplifier, my Muse / wife Heather
loves McIntosh Labs. A much better formal review of McIntosh's MC611 monoblock
amplifier is by our Senior Editor Tom Lyle so read that one instead of mine
imho. For me, is the incredibly high sound quality combined with a truly incredible 50+ year lifespan these overbuild products easily reach.
For Heather, it is those mesmerizing blue meters (and sound quality). --->
WBT PlasmaProtect For Higher Quality Connection HIGH END 2019 Show Report
By Steven R. Rochlin During HIGH END 2019 WBT held a very informative press event
on Friday afternoon and for a geek like me it was very informative. CEO Wolfgang B.
Thörner had a wonderfully prepared speech to accompany their informative video. As many
audiophiles know, WBT is one of the industry's leading manufacturer of connectors, which are used
by Kimber Kable and many other manufacturers. ---> Read More
Cary Audio SLI-80HS Stereo Integrated Amplifier Cary Audio's new SLI-80HS
($4495, Heritage Series) maintains the integrity of its previous version with very little feedback, which is said to provide incredible transparency and detail within your music while also providing bass texture and impact. Newly designed solid-state rectification adds excellent pace to the music plus offers improved dynamics and bass detail over earlier versions. A pair of toggle switches select either triode mode producing 40 Watts per channel of pure Class A power, or ultra-linear mode that doubles power to 80 Watts per channel stereo in Class AB. Of interesting note is that Cary Audio has partnered with Klipsch to design a version of the SLI-80 to directly complement their Klipsch's Heritage Series product line. Black Ash, Cherry, and Walnut wood side panels are available as an additional accessory of the new SLI-80HS (Heritage Series) integrated amplifier to match the various finishes of Klipsch loudspeakers.
EXOGAL Delivers HyperDrive Amp For Their Ion PowerDAC EXOGAL's HyperDrive upgrade realizes the next level of refinement for the
company's Ion PowerDAC. What EXOGAL realized in 2013 was that analog sound was digitized using a process called "successive approximation" where it is sampled fast enough to catch the tiniest detail the human ear could hear. Once EXOGAL realized that,
and everyone else had previously missed the point entirely, they took a look at what the company could do about it. This led EXOGAL to the realization that the only perfect approach was to reverse the successive approximation process. And now in 2019 they
added a circuit called HyperDrive to the Ion, which increases the regulation granularity of our internally-derived high voltage power supply.
HyperDrive allows them to essentially drive "closer to the guardrails," which gives a performance
boost in terms of output power (125 Watts @ 8 Ohms, with a peak output current of 10 Amperes per
channel), improved frequency response across the dynamic range of the PowerDAC
(5Hz to 22kHz), and better protection from anomalous conditions such as bad
mains power, etc. All of their products are built with an open architecture allowing you to listen to the digital music format of choice:
local files or streaming. All of their products are made in the USA; designed, sourced and manufactured in Minnesota.
05 / 21 / 19
McIntosh Announces Their C49 Stereo Preamplifier McIntosh
is proud to announce their new C49 stereo preamplifier ($5000) that is prepared for future of digital music technologies. Their C49 features McIntosh's DA1 Digital Audio Module, which can be replaced by newer McIntosh digital audio modules that accommodate new digital technologies. This will allow the C49 stereo preamplifier to be kept up to date with digital music formats and viable well into the future. The C49 comes with a multitude of inputs.
For analog, it has two XLR balanced, three RCA unbalanced, one Moving Coil (MC) and one Moving Magnet (MM) inputs. On the digital side, it has six inputs housed within the DA1 module: two S/PDIF coaxial, two TosLink optical, a USB and proprietary MCT (for use with McIntosh's MCT series of SACD / CD Transports). The DA1 is powered by an eight-channel, 32-bit DAC that is used in Quad Balanced mode; it supports up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz for playback of high resolution audio. In total, the C49 has 13 inputs, and each can be given user-friendly names to simplify system setup and control.
For outputs, the C49 has two XLR balanced variable outputs, two RCA unbalanced variable outputs, and an unbalanced fixed output. The outputs are designed for easy use when
bi-amp'ing speakers so that neither the highs or lows are inadvertently turned off. Audio sources can be fine tuned via the bass and treble tone controls. The C49 can be seamlessly integrated into a home theater system via Home Theater Pass Through. McIntosh's High Drive headphone amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) is also included.
Diapason Adamantes V, Micra III
Excel & Autunno HIGH END 2019 Show Report
By Steven R. Rochlin Coming from Italy is Diapason and their exquisitely styled loudspeakers with real wood cabinets. The company seeks to produce speakers that best convey a flare for design and love of music. Company founder Alessandro Schiavi came together constantly works to attain perfection in acoustic reproduction, and to deliver a musical listening experience capable of resonating with our deepest
Gryphon Audio Designs Delivers
Best Sound HIGH END 2019 Show Report
By Steven R. Rochlin It is no secret that I love Gryphon Audio, as they produce incredibly well-build products that sound incredible! Just as it was during AXPONA 2019, they were showcasing their new Ethos CD player
and DAC (€28,800). Breaking the rules of black boxes, Gryphon Audio gave the
Ethos a wonderful sense of style combined with the fun of handling physical
media. Am truly in love with the visual presence of this modern CD player / DAC,
plus it offers top-shelf performance too! --->
Vertere Acoustics DG-1 Dynamic Groove Record Player Vertere Acoustics
new DG-1 Dynamic Groove Record Player (€3350) is designed for a less extreme customer: one who is driven by performance but needs almost Plug and Play setup. This customer – from
Vertere's research – wants ease of setup and use but not at the expense of future upgradeability. Back to fundamentals involved examining every element of the design, rethinking the way turntables work, and removing every superfluous element that got in the way of the ultimate aim: getting the listener, as close as possible to their music. Advanced microprocessor generated electronic motor drive is said by the company to be their best possible drive system. Fully programmable, via copper/stainless steel shielded motor drive PCB, allows for future upgrades. The platter, able to spin at 33.3 and 45 rpm, is made with high precision machined
aluminum alloy with bonded PETG record interface mat and cork / neoprene / nitrile bonded underside resonance control disk. Noiseless and stiction eliminating nylon thread tonearm bearings are each made up of hundreds of three microns thick twined nylon 6.6/6 strands. There's a two layer
aluminum alloy / polymer sandwich non-resonant tonearm beam as well. To keep unwanted
vibrations away, the low frequency compliant yuned silicone rubber is integrated into the DG-1's isolation system, with bespoke clear precision
molded silicone rubber round 'belt' that is stable with temperature and humidity. Also included is a non-resonant clear acrylic dust cover with elegant integrated hinges.
05 / 20 / 19
Silbatone & Western Electric
Vintage Hornspeakers Setting The Tone For Unavailability
Now also image you're a music lover and want the very best. Since you have nearly limitless funding, why not just create your own company? Go ahead and hire the very best designers, and then have them build the
world's most esoteric audio gear. This is what Silbatone is all about. Back in 2002 I was perhaps the first to review their C-102 battery powered
preamplifier. In May of the same year I reviewed their JI-300B integrated
amplifier. While the preamp was absolutely incredible, the integrated did not fare as well and the company made changes to the design since
AXPONA 2019 Show Report Part 6 By
night was dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings followed by a
return to the Hyatt to charge camera batteries. Attending the free concert back
at the Renaissance would have been too distracting. I decided to drop down to
the bar to cash in my ticket for a free drink and do my homework for the final
day of the show. The guy next to me recognized the AXPONA program I brought
along and it opened up an hour-long conversation. ---> Read More
Conrad-Johnson HVA1 Reference Headphone Amplifier
design team is particularly excited to announce the release of their latest product, the HVA1 headphone amplifier ($7500). The HVA1 is a reference quality single-ended Class A triode amplifier designed to power low-impedance headphones (around 20 to 32 Ohms). The HVA1 accommodates two line-level inputs, with a power output of 3 Watts into 20 Ohms. The enhanced triode circuit, similar to that introduced in conrad-johnson's flagship GAT preamplifier, employs two 6922 vacuum-tubes. There is one 6922 for for each channel, with voltage gain coupled to a high-current FET buffer stage (source follower).
Each of the two channels is powered by its own independent DC regulator. CJD Teflon capacitors and Vishay resistors are featured in the circuits. The level control is a discrete stepped attenuator constructed entirely with Vishay resistors. The circuitry is housed in a heavy, elegant aluminum chassis dressed with anodized brushed aluminum panels on front, sides, and top.
05 / 17 / 19
STEREO Magazine Teams Up
With Enjoy the Music.com STEREO, Europe's most respected magazine,
partners with Enjoy the Music.com. Enjoy the Music.com, a significant provider in high-end luxury audio equipment reviews, news and show reports since 1995, is elated to announce our teaming up with
STEREO Magazine. As Europe's most respected magazine, STEREO has successfully reached millions of music lovers throughout the world spanning many decades. This new partnership continues the vision of both publications to share in the joys of music and how to best reproduce it within your home, office, and everywhere possible. For nearly 25 years,
Enjoy the Music.com is an essential resource for information about the high-end audio industry and high resolution / streaming music on the
HIGH END 2019 Exhibitors And Visitors Press Release
At HIGH END 2019, held last weekend in Munch,
was incredibly successful as they showcased 551 exhibitors from 42 countries (+3.8%
compared to 2018), had 21,180 visitors in total (+6.5%), and 8,208 trade visitors from 72 countries (+8.6%). According to HIGH END,
whose motto this year was 'Enjoy The Music':
Friday clearly turned out to be the strongest visitor day, drawing several thousand music enthusiasts to the many exhibition stands. Continuously increasing number of exhibitors 551 exhibitors, 67% of whom were international, presented a broad range of products at the HIGH END. Compared to the previous year, the number of companies exhibiting increased by some 3.8%. They came from 42 different countries and the following countries were most strongly represented: the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Japan, Denmark, Switzerland and China.
For the trade experts, it was one of the world's most significant events in the audio industry, for the public it was a unique world of experience – this year again, the HIGH END pivoted on these two areas of interest. Trade visitors In total, 8,208 trade visitors from 72 countries came to Munich. This represents nearly nine percent more visitors compared to the HIGH END 2018. The share of international trade visitors was in fact 75 percent. The lion's share of international visitors came from European countries other than Germany, with a major focus on the following countries: the UK, Italy, France and Switzerland.
We also received numerous trade visitors from Asia and America, however. It is the combination of music presentations, the showcase of the most exquisite lines of equipment, workshops and captivating lectures that have made up the HIGH END for decades, attracting dealers, consumers, as well as representatives from the audio and supplier industry, to the exhibition in Munich....
This year's brand ambassador and special guest of the HIGH END, Steven Wilson, precisely exemplifies this living, professional linkage of technology and music at the highest level. Like no other contemporary musician, Wilson is celebrating outstanding success both behind the microphone and in front of the mixing console. Exhibition visitors were able to experience the outstanding British musician live at an autograph session to acquire his personally-signed special-edition
Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall as a five-LP box set. There was a huge turnout, and a seemingly endless line formed in front of the autograph signing table. Surrounded by his international fan community, Steven Wilson also took time out for a few selfies and a complete walking tour of the
HIGH END 2020 will take place from May 14 to 17 within the exhibition area of the MOC in Munich.
05 / 16 / 19
Ayon Audio, Lumen White,
Stromtank, And Sonitus HIGH END 2019 Show Report
By Steven R. Rochlin Just as during their debut at AXPONA 2019, Ayon Audio had their sweet looking pure Class A Epsilon Evo Mono vacuum tube amplifiers (€20,000) here at HIGH END 2019. A nice set of KT150 tubes, with very high quality parts and small signal tubes, produce an
extraordinarily wide frequency response from 8Hz to 70kHz. Wide bandwidth, Class A power, super clean / transparency... you need to hear these in action to truly appreciate
their ability to drive speakers. --->
World Premiere Review!
Elly Audio Loudspeaker Kickstartin' a very capable and well-designed speaker both sonically and aesthetically.
Review By Rick LaFaver Hello again everyone, I have been away awhile both enjoying
and surviving the birth of my two daughters but things have settled down to a
point where I can have some time in the evenings to pour myself a glass of my
beverage of choice and not only put time in with my system, but write about it
even. I have missed this so much, but I needed the right thing to come back to
from my retirement... semi-retirement... or we'll call it a sabbatical? --->
Tencent Music Entertainment Group Q1 2019 Results Tencent Music Entertainment Group
(NYSE: TME), the leading online music entertainment platform in China, announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019. Revenues were RMB5.74 billion
($855 million), an increase of 39.4% year-over-year. Operating profit was RMB1.15 billion
($171 million), an increase of 22.9% year-over-year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Company increased by 17.4% year over year to RMB987 million
($147 million). This past quarter's results is nearly double the paying users as compared to the same quarter is 2017 (28.4M versus 15.3M). "We started 2019 with solid first quarter results and strong growth," stated Mr. Cussion Pang, Chief Executive Officer of Tencent Music.
"Our businesses recorded healthy growth rates driven by product innovation, content diversification, and technological advancement. During the past few quarters, we constantly expanded our online music subscriber base while steadily increasing our subscriber retention rate. As our users increasingly consume music content through streaming services, we are riding on this trend to gradually transition into a pay-for-streaming model over the coming years. We also strengthened our market leadership in music-centric social entertainment by focusing on product innovation and enhancing user experience through data analytics. We remain committed to investing in the provision of premium content as well as innovative product features. We believe that these investments will significantly enhance the level of user engagement for our services and sustain our long-term growth going forward."
05 / 15/ 19
Nordost Cable @ HIGH END 2019
By Steven R. Rochlin During HIGH END 2019 in Munich Nordost gave us a preview of three new products. Valhalla 2
Tonearm Cable +, QPOINT Resonance Synchronizer, and a special sneak peek of their QSOURCE Linear Power Supply.
Nordost's Valhalla 2 Tonearm Cable + is $4,999.99 for 1.25 meter length ($625 each additional 0.5 meter), QPOINT is $749.99, and Q source is $2,499.99 (accompanying QSOURCE DC Cable is $259.99 for 1 meter, add $50 for each additional 0.5 meter). In fact Nordost cables were within a variety of systems at HIGH
END. ---> Read
Audio Research REF160S Stereo Tube Amplifier Audio Research
has announced their Reference 160S (REF160S) stereo power amplifier ($20,000). This new amplifier is said to distill the astonishing resolution, dynamic impact, musical purity and finesse of the 160M into one beautiful and attainable chassis designed for the music lover in all of us. Following the
success of their internationally-acclaimed 160M monaural power amplifier introduced in 2018, the REF160S is a vacuum-tube design with dual transparent power meters that float in front of the eight KT150 output power tubes.
Feature set includes a proprietary auto-bias circuit, switchable Triode or Ultra linear modes of operation, balanced XLR and single ended RCA inputs, plus an output tube monitoring mode. Additionally, the 160S employs a four-layer circuit board, allowing music to emanate from a jet-black background. Power rating is 140
Wpc. Read Enjoy the Music.com's review of the Audio Research LS28 line stage and VT80 power amplifier at this
4-CHerry Amplifier By Digital Amplifier Company
The new 4-CHerry amplifier from Digital Amplifier Company
produces 400 Wpc of ultra clean power. With four channels of power, it can use used for bi-amplifying speakers or within a home theater system. This helps round out their 2-CHerry, 3-CHerry, 4-CHerry, and 5-CHerry configurations ($2390 to $2990), plus they also offer a KING version of each amplifier ($2890 to $3490). The KING version has gold WBT binding posts, and double rail capacitance on all channels. All models employs the same beautiful faceplate as the MEGAschino (red or black, you choose). Power output is 200 Wpc at 8 Ohms, and doubles to 400Wpc @ 4 Ohms. Read
Enjoy the Music.com's review of the MEGAschino stereo amplifier at this
Dan D'Agostino MAS Progression Integrated Amplifier Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems
Progression Integrated Amplifier is a versatile front-end solution for your home music system ($18,000, $20,000 with phono stage, and $25,000 with both phono stage and digital module). The Progression Integrated produces 200 Watts @ 8 Ohms and 400 @ 4 Ohms. A unique toroidal winding technology, first employed in the Momentum M400 amplifier, delivers greater power output from a similarly sized conventional transformer keeping the Progression Integrated surprisingly small for its capability.
Internal circuitry filters RF noise from the AC powerline and compensates for asymmetric power waveforms and DC on the mains. Two analog meters, inspired by Swiss watch faces, function as signal level meters during music playback. When volume is adjusted, the meter needles change to volume setting indicators. After adjustments are made, the meters revert back to signal level operation. The meters also function as balance, phase, and mute indicators. Housed in a chassis the exudes the
D'Agostino aesthetic, the unit is built on a modular platform. The Progression Integrated fills every need of
today's music listener and audiophile.
The analog platform provides two single ended RCA inputs and three XLR balanced inputs including a theater pass through. Balanced preamplifier outputs make for convenient inclusion of subwoofer(s) into your audio system. An optional moving coil (MC) phono module adds turntable playback to the list of features. The Bluetooth Remote control connectivity, first used in the Progression and Momentum HD Preamplifiers, is included as part of the base package. Bluetooth connectivity eliminates line of sight issues and extends the usable range 5x versus conventional IR remote controls. An optional digital module vaults the Progression Integrated into the cutting edge of
today's digital listening environment.
The digital enhancement adds connectivity for legacy sources, both source and host USB functionality, and premier streaming functionality. Field upgradeable, the digital module adds two S/PDIF coaxial, two TosLink optical, USB-A, USB-B, and RJ-45 inputs. Roon music management with Tidal, Qobuz, and MQA digital technologies are all available features. A fully differential DAC handles PCM signals up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD signals up to 4xDSD (11.2 MHz).
Sonus Faber Launches Minima Amator II
The new Minima Amator II (€4000 VAT included) give life to the Heritage collection from
Sonus faber. Minima Amator II is a two-way bookshelf loudspeaker system with a 28 mm silk dome tweeter implemented with the DAD (Damped Apex
Dome) technology. A 6" midwoofer, developed in the Vicenza-based laboratory, features the well-known cellulose pulp and natural fibers cone on a die-cast aluminum basket. Paying homage to the company's past through classic design, while strongly breaking through the barrier of time with an electro-acoustic point of view, the Heritage collection transmits the tradition of the brand and enhances its artistic relevance.
Minima Amator II is the restatement of a fundamental product first introduced in 1992 when the company was establishing key principles that would go on to guide future productions: accurate design and high-quality natural materials, combined together to obtain a sound reproduction as natural as possible. Solid walnut wood cabinet adds to the speaker's sound quality, resulting in a harmonious, smooth and consistent listening experience. The cabinet is embellished by a thin brass insert at the base, reminiscent of the elegant Electa Amator III design. The front baffle shows the iconic shape of the Voice of Sonus faber and is covered in leather. Meanwhile, the rear panel is also covered in leather, plus it houses the exit of the reflex duct and is embellished by the brass binding posts. Sonus faber's Minima Amator II was intended to be a bookshelf speaker, yet is also designed to be paired with the Carrara Stand or with the Unicum stand.
dCS Mosaic Music Streaming Platform Data Conversion Systems Ltd
(dCS) launched their new streaming audio platform. Named dCS Mosaic, this new product brings greatly enhanced streaming audio functionality and an elegantly simple user experience to all owners of current dCS products.
dCS Mosaic is a bespoke collection of hardware and software modules which, when combined, provide listeners easy and intuitive access to their digital music. Streaming audio has been a core technology of dCS products since the release of Vivaldi, but Mosaic represents a leap forward in terms of functionality, performance, and user experience. Both TIDAL and Qobuz streaming music services Hi-Res Music services are
supported as is legacy CD-quality by Deezer. The addition of a library of internet radio stations and podcasts from around the globe enhances the new service. Conceived from the ground-up as a truly cross-platform solution, dCS Mosaic Control app is a single, unified interface to any current dCS product using a mobile device running iOS or Android.
05 / 13 / 19
Enjoying The Music @ HIGH END 2019 Europe's #1 show is an epic success
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin As the 19th time attending HIGH END Society's show in Germany, have been proudly smiling as this event has grown to epic proportions! As the only American reporter to have covered this event back then, HIGH END was at the Kempinski Hotel in Neu-Isenburg and product pricing was still in German Deutsche Marks (DM). Over the years, have observed this event grow to the point of needing a larger venue. The 2004 HIGH END show was the first within the now sold out
M.O.C. ---> Read More
Show Report Part 5 By Rick Becker This
first room is a bit of mystery to me. I suspect it was Room 544 which was
highlighted as an AXPONA room on the floor plan, but not identified on the page
listing the presenters. Room 544 was tucked down a short hall just as you come
off the stairway coming down from the 6th Floor, making it easy to
miss. I'm glad I didn't! ---> Read More
AXPONA 2019 Show Report --
Audio Expo North America AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage By David
Schwartz My first audio show was in 1957. It was a small one held in a New York office building consisting of showrooms. Lacking the bathrooms and closets of hotel rooms, there was no congestion at the showroom doors. That, combined with a horrible tweeter demonstration are the only real memories I have of that show. It was in the early days of high fidelity (mono), woofers and tweeters had to be explained as well as how to hook up a
system. ---> Read More
05 / 09 to 05 / 12
HIGH END In Munich Wants You To
Enjoy The Music
HIGH END 2019 show
will open their doors and welcome exhibitors and visitors from all over the
world from May 9th through 12th in Munich, Germany. With exhibitor space already fully
booked months in advance, this year's HIGH END show marks it's 38th time and 16th at
As during the past 19 years, longer than any other North American magazine, Enjoy
the Music.com will once again report on HIGH END in Munich. This internationally renowned exhibition has firmly established itself as a
global event over nearly four
decades. Outstanding British singer Steven Wilson is HIGH
END's official brand ambassador for this year's event. Steven Wilson is a musical all-round talent par excellence and first became known especially as the founder and creative force behind the progressive rock
band Porcupine Tree. In the meantime, he has been pursuing a solo career under his own name and has enjoyed vast success as a solo artist, both in the charts and in concert. Most recently, Wilson delighted his audience in London, selling out three consecutive concerts at the legendary Royal Albert
Hall. ---> See our HIGH END 2019 show report.
05 / 06 / 19
Rhapsody Adds MQA Powered By Napster
And the circle is now complete as Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker brought music format
MP3 to fame with their peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing service Napster
in 1999. While many major music labels, plus the RIAA, fought Napster legally,
we must remember that Sony said they would never offer an MP3 player at the
time. Times have indeed changed. Today, that going against the grain sprint continues as Napster's owner Rhapsody International Inc. just announced it has completed a global agreement with
MQA, the disruptive company that
produces a proprietary "Authenticated Master Quality" music file type versus longtime standard
lossless FLAC. According to the press release, "Rhapsody's Powered by Napster platform service now offers partners the option to choose high-resolution and studio-quality audio for those who select MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) as their format of choice. Powered by Napster will offer MQA music tracks across multiple platforms including mobile, automotive and home."
"Powered by Napster is a complete music and audio platform service," says the press release. "It offers companies a suite of technologies and solutions, including music and media streaming and download infrastructure, applications, rights management, customer billing, royalty administration, and business intelligence. The addition of MQA positions Powered by Napster as the leader in high-quality audio music services."
05 / 04 / 19
Merrill Audio GaN ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier
Zero feedback, zero dead time and bottomless noise floor using
Merrill Audio's Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors on the ELEMENT 114 stereo power amplifier ($15,000). Utilizing trickle down technology from the award winning ELEMENT 118 and ELEMENT 116 Monoblock Power Amplifiers released last year, Merrill Audio's ELEMENT 114 ZXOL proprietary design technology leaps ahead of all other Class D implementations and provides more detail and immediacy. According to the company, "The Musical detail, experience and immediacy along with the immediately noticeable ultra-low noise floor takes music reproduction to a whole new experience. It only takes an instant to realize your listening to something quite special."
Using advanced Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors and advanced PCB design techniques, the dead time is reduced to zero, which removes any distortion. Dead time is the time the MOSFET transistor takes to discharge or charge when changing states. Since there is no dead time distortion, the ZXOL proprietary design also has Zero feedback. With Zero feedback, says the company, there is much more detail, more information and much greater immediacy all with a sense of ease and openness.
Vitus Audio World Premieres SIA 030 Integrated Amplifier
During HIGH END 2019 in Munich
Vitus Audio will be premiering their SIA030 integrated stereo amplifier (pricing not set). Weighing in at a healthy 110 lbs, the unit produces 30 Watts per channel output in pure Class A that can switch to Class AB for 200 Watts (both ratings @8 ohms). SIA 030 features a 2.2KVA vibration suspended custom design transformer, 400,000μF primary capacitor bank with an additional 216,000μF secondary capacitor bank. SIA 030 shares the DNA of the flagship four chassis mono blocks amp, MP-M 201 with a fully regulated PSU. Airflow has been optimized for maximum cooling with no fans.
There's an 'extra' transformer for all logic/CPU
etc. Standard inputs include two sereo pairs of RCA unbalanced and three XLR balanced. Speaker outputs are true balanced. There's also a pre-out un-balanced RCA for active subwoofers, etc. RJ45/USB logical inputs allows for easy firmware upgrades. Optional MM / MC Phono stage and DAC / Streamer are available. The digital board provides XLR AES input, RCA S/PDIF, Ethernet for streaming, USB, and optical TosLink.
AudioSolutions World Premieres Virtuoso M Speaker AudioSolutions Virtuoso M loudspeaker ($32,000 per pair) will make it's first global appearance at
HIGH END 2019 in Munich. The Virtuoso falls between the company's Figaro and Vantage Anniversary speaker series, completing their lineup. The Virtuoso shares DNA with their flagship Vantage Anniversary, yet with the visual
styling of the Figaro line. AudioSolutions' Virtuoso is a three-way loudspeaker with two 7.5" bass drivers, a 6.5" midrange driver and a mini horn loaded 1.2" tweeter.
There will be seven standard Xirallic high gloss finishes, five Metallic premium finishes and a never seen before
Chameleon version. Virtuoso's cabinet is a box in a box design which increases rigidity and stiffness up to 10 times of a regular cabinet according to the company. Virtuoso's midrange driver covers an extremely wide range between 500 to 7000 Hz, which is the signature for AudioSolutions speaker designs. Three crossovers in one speaker thanks to the unique crossover design. Users can choose between Balanced, Moderate or Enhanced modes for their listening preferences.
Hi-Fi+ May 2019 Issue Features Reviews & CanJam NYC Hi-Fi+'s
May 2019 issue features their CanJam NYC 2019 report from the Big Apple plus John Challenger, Salisbury Cathedral's Deputy Director of Music, talks about organ music. Equipment reviews within this issue include the Naim Audio NDX 2 / XPS DR streamer, Constellation Audio Pictor / Taurus stereo preamp/amp, Chord Electronics Huge TT 2 / M Scaler DAC, KEF LSX active bookshelf loudspeakers, Exposure XM CD
player, and Triangle AIO 3 active Bluetooth loudspeaker. Other home audio gear
reviews include the Node Audio Hylixa stand-mount loudspeaker, Spendor A4 floorstanding loudspeaker, Cambridge Audio Alva TT direct drive turntable system, Rega Aura phono stage, and VooDoo Cable Stradivarius Amati / Dynasty.
Within this issue's Ultimate Headphone Guide,
there are reviews of the Cayin N5iiS portable digital music player, Sony DMP-Z1 desktop digital music player / headamp / DAC, Meze Empyrean planar magnetic headphones, Campfire Audio Equinox custom-fit in-ear monitor, iFi Audio Gemini 3.0 dual-headed USB cable, and Nordost Purple Flare USB cable.
Within his editorial Designed, Built, And Made In The UK, Alan Sircom
says "At the moment, it's a little hard to be British. The country is divided by Brexit and – wherever people stand on the Leave/Remain continuum – the one thing that unites the kingdom is that politics has not covered itself in glory in recent years. If you travel abroad, you are often met with expressions of sympathy – not necessarily about the event, but about the abject mishandling of the event as it draws to what (as we go to press) might be a close."
what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ Magazine at this
Leema Acoustics Stream IV CD Player Leema Acoustics has announced their Stream IV (£2295), which is a 'future-proof' CD player for the streaming age. Fully updated for the streaming age, Stream IV offers Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz integration plus vTuner Internet Radio, Deezer and the ability to read data from connected USB drives and
Dropbox / OneDrive accounts. Fully UPnP / DLNA compliant, the Stream IV can access and playback from networked music devices, and offers both wired and wireless operation with WPS Wi-Fi integrated for easy home set-up.
Leema Acoustics Stream IV includes an advanced high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz streaming module, a Stream Unlimited CD mechanism,
plus a high-quality ESS 9018 Sabre DAC that benefits from S/PDIF coaxial and TosLink optical digital outputs for connection to pre-existing high-performance external DACs. Further audiophile touches include a high-quality Noratel linear power supply. The unit is available in black and silver.
05 / 01 / 19
Netflix Now Streaming 'Studio Quality Sound'
According to Netflix, "Starting today, when you watch Netflix on your TV, it should sound even better. Some of the most iconic moments in TV and film are defined by their score. Without its beautiful theme music, would
The Crown be as majestic? Would the eeriness of Stranger Things come across in the same way? Often the subtlety of sound may go unnoticed, but it can have a profound impact on the atmosphere of a scene and fundamentally change how a viewer responds to it. The magical combination of sight and sound brings viewers closer to the story, and that's why we support creative technologies and features like 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos and Netflix Calibrated Mode.
Today, we're excited to announce a new feature, high-quality audio, which takes our sound quality to another level. We gave it this straightforward name because it fits: high-quality audio delivers audio that sounds closer to what creators hear in the studio, so every little detail is captured for a richer, more intense experience.
Additionally, if you have bandwidth or device limitations, we've made the feature adaptive so that we will deliver the best possible audio to match your capabilities. This is similar to what we already do for video.... We expect these bitrates to evolve over time as we get more efficient with our encoding techniques."
And here's the rub for those who truly understand high sound quality, on Netflix website is says, "If you've ever been in a professional recording studio, you've probably noted the difference in how things sound. One reason for that is the files used in mastering sessions are 24-bit 48 kHz with a bitrate of around 1 Mbps per channel. Studio mixes are uncompressed, which is why we consider them to be the 'master' version."
a so-called "master version" is a mere
24-bit/48kHz.... You can see why the confusion sets in due to a sheer lack of education by the industry at
large as 24-bit/192kHz (stereo) and 24-bit/96kHz (5.1 surround sound) has been available via DVD over 20 years ago (March 31,
1997 to be exact).
Note that even at its
very best, Netflix has a new maximum 5.1 audio bitrate of 640 kbps, with Dolby
Atmos being up to 768 kbps. This is not quite something audiophiles might
desire at its current best, yet is a wonderful step in the right
direction and we look forward to Netflix delivering higher audio bitrates in the
For now, Netflix still is not delivering audio technology to equal 1997
standards. To help educate you, our loyal readers, true high resolution stereo audio is a bitrate of 9,216 kbps, while 1980's technology CD is 1,411 kbps, and the best MP3 is 320 kbps. As a point of interest to the ever-lower sound quality delivered by streaming
services, Apple Music streams at 256kbps.
Show Report Part 4 By Rick Becker In Buddhism there are the Four Noble Truths, the first of
which is "Life is suffering" (because everything changes). Today's
suffering began in the first room when I realized I had left my SD card back at
the hotel room in my computer. As I headed for the elevator, I remembered I had
tossed a new card into my briefcase, so it was now a matter of finding scissors
to cut open the plastic packaging. ---> Read More
Reports, Gear Reviews & More! Enjoy the
Music.com's May Review
Magazine features our ongoing AXPONA 2019 show coverage, the 25th annual Zagreb AV Show, and
soon our HIGH END Munich report! This month includes part 2 of Ethan Winer's
How To Do A Proper Listening Test. Editor Tom Lyle discusses many things
vinyl, while Roger Skoff writes about who you should rely on in putting together your
system. Industry veteran Bobby Owsinski asks, Will Amazon Beat Apple To The Hi-Res Music Streaming
Manufacturers chime in as KEF delivers a Comprehensive Guide To Digital Music
Formats, plus Joe Cohen of The Lotus Group asks What's Up With Noise Reduction In The MHz Range?
Gear reviews within this issue include Ron Nagle bringing the glow of vacuum
tubes with his World Premiere Review of Rogue Audio's new Cronus Magnum III integrated amplifier with phono stage.
Analog aficionados will surely enjoy reading Tom Lyle's extensive review of Etsuro Urushi's musically involving Bordeaux MC phono cartridge.
We also have reviews of Paradigm's 200B small two-way monitors, plus Quad's PA-One+ triode vacuum tube DAC / headamp
from Headphone.Guru and AURALiC's ARIES G1 wireless streamer thanks to our friends at Positive
Feedback. These are just a sampling of the many articles and reviews within
Is Back! Plus
what's within this issue and new partnership announced!
Article By Tom Lyle I'm puzzled. I realize that vinyl isn't "coming back",
it's back! Which means that not only serious crate-diggers are searching
for and purchasing older records made from before the great CD-scare of
the 1990s, but newly reissued vinyl, and new vinyl releases from current
artists. As a serious collector of vinyl, I have mixed feeling about many
of the records being made and sold these days. To put it bluntly, the
majority of records being made today are nothing more than CDs pressed
onto vinyl. --->
Amazon Beat Apple To
The Hi-Res Music Streaming Punch? Article By Bobby Owsinski I've been predicting for some time that one
of the major streaming services would begin to offer higher resolution
music, if for no other reason than for brand differentiation. Who would've
thought that the service to make the first move would be Amazon? A
recent post from Music Business Worldwide states that Amazon is in active
talks with record labels for license agreements for better-than-CD quality
music material, and that one (still unnamed) is onboard. --->
Urushi Bordeaux MC Phono Cartridge Getting
closer to the music etched into your LP's grooves.
Review By Tom Lyle It was about a year ago that I reviewed the cartridge that's one
step lower in Etsuro Urushi's line, their Cobalt Blue. In the review I
said that the Cobalt Blue is "a super-transparent window into the
recording that was etched into an LP's surface", praising this
cartridge to the point where one might be led to believe that there is no
better cartridge on the market. This is not the first time I've felt as
though I have painted myself into a corner when reviewing a piece of
high-end audio equipment, which happens more often than not when the
equipment performs as well as the Cobalt Blue. --->
200B Small Monitor Speaker Impressive
bottom end for a small loudspeaker.
Review By Dean Cacioppo Paradigm Speakers and I have a long, and personal history. Another
lifetime ago, I sold hi-end audio at the retail level. Mostly because it
was my dream job. Even after I left full time, I would work there on the
weekends. Our modus operandi back then was to get the guy who was looking
for a new "stereo" and bring them in our big room to let them
experience the sound of a real audio system. Then
the next step was to bring them into the "small room" where they
could experience some of that same magic in their price range. --->